By Jeremy McDonald
DAYTON, Ore.– This. This felt like Coos Bay.
The crowd noise. The play, the pressure. It felt normal. Yamhill-Carlton had cut a once 13-point lead to six, Dayton answered to lead by 15 at the half. 39-24.
Both teams brought the pressure defensively. The Pirates held the Seely-Roberts to a combined 12 first half points, Dayton’s Tyler Spink went on a tear with four-three’s and 18 first half points.
With Amity, the Tigers and Pirates gridlock like Dundee-traffic during rush hour at 4-1, this game could separate the two Titanic-squads going into Week 5 this upcoming week. Dayton, seemingly though in their 70-66 win, seemed to be sailing off towards the figurative sunset of the week leading 57-33 going into the fourth quarter.
“We knew that every game is a big game with how short of a season we have. So we just try to come out with energy and play with a lot of toughness,” Spink said. “We got to play with a lot of heart and not take any days off or any minutes off. Play hard every second of every game.”
Leading by 24-points to the same team that defeated them by nearly 30-points two-and-a-half-weeks ago.
On the other side however, Yamhill-Carlton’s Malachi Seely-Roberts points to four numbers: 3, 3, 7 and 3 sharpied on his left shoulder. Represented the losses they had to Amity.
“On our arm, we write ‘3, 3, 7, 3’. We lost to Amity four times by three-points, three-points, seven-points and three-points. We just keep pushing each other to beat Amity and Dayton. Those are our two rivals and those are the best teams in the State. If we can beat both of them, we can beat anyone,” said Seely-Roberts, who finished with seven points.
They used that for momentum in the final eight minutes. Reversing their extremely slow start and catching the Pirates laxed off the pedal. Malachi Seely-Roberts had hit a pair of free-throws with 3:45 left in the game and had made it a ten-point game at 59-49.
The free throws were part of a then 16-2 run. With 53.5 seconds remaining, the Tigers had rallied from the depths of the underworld down 66-63 with momentum in their favor.
Yamhill-Carlton at this point had outscored Dayton 30-9 in a span of seven minutes. Unheard off amongst two great teams like these two. The Seely-Roberts twins combined for 27 points, Moroni Seely-Roberts having 25 of them as the sophomore finished with 38. Trey Richmond contributed another four in the quarter.
Incredibly as the gas tank hit towards empty, both teams had dug deep within themselves over the next nearly 54 seconds with the Pirates hanging on for dear life thanks to free throws from Dawson Ashley and Caleb Primbs. Helping lift Dayton just enough over their rival from up the road.
“That was something,” Spink said of the fourth quarter. “We had it and we took our foot off the brakes and they showed us that we can’t do that. (We) just got to play like we did the first three quarters the whole game. Don’t think we got the win and keep playing like it’s a close game the whole time.”
Spink finished with 30 points in the win. Justin Morales finished with 19 for the Pirates. Malachi Seely-Roberts had nine points for the Tigers. Richmond had ten and Spencer Horne contributed another nine.
Photos By Jeremy McDonald